WordPress Plugin Review: AntiSpam Bee

February 21, 2012 · 49 comments

in WordPress

WordPress Plugin Review: AntiSpam Bee

Note: Now, a few months after this post I have removed this plugin. Like many prior I ended up finding it over-aggressive. It got so bad I thought my readers had left! It turns out it lacks any suitable learning-logic and so things were getting worst not better with it. I no longer recommend it.

Stop The Stingers! 
Halting WordPress Spam

Spam sucks! 

While it’s a bit of a “first world problem“, sorting through spam is one of those things that eats up our valuable time as marketers and bloggers. 

Akismet has long been evicted from my blog for shoddy behavior that just isn’t acceptable. It’s not on my recommended list if any of your commenters are actually regular commenters elsewhere. 

Originally, basic G.A.S.P. (which is a awesome plugin) was enough to get me by (highly recommended). Then I started getting trackback spammed badly and had to add Simple Trackback Validation

Fortunately, both of these plugins have built upon and improved and filled with new features when combined with CommentLuv in CommentLuv Premium (CLP)

Recently though, even with the work Andy and I did to ensure we could get CLP to block the famously spamtastic “Digi Auto Links” (and other similar spam plugins), the rate of human generated spam hitting my doorstep was climbing to an unpleasant level. (This is no fault of G.A.S.P. which was built to handle bots not humans.)

So, is there something more we can use?

I ruled out a LOT of the usual anti-spam plugins for the same very reason that G.A.S.P. was originally developed… most of them had “fatal flaws” that harmed my average reader at some level or another. Unacceptable stuff that you probably wouldn’t know it was doing unless you knew what to look for.

I needed something intelligent yet aggressive and comprehensive yet explicitly in my control. Oh yeah, and something that browser caching and screen readers and such don’t break. 

Introducing: WordPress Anti-Spam Bee

If you need it, you’re going to love this plugin! I’m using it WITH CommentLuv Premium for great results. 

Let’s be very clear. Like all plugins, WordPress AntiSpam Bee will generate false-positives that you MUST go into your spam folder and mark as “not spam”.  If you chose not to do this, for any of the plugins you use, your teaching the plugin to ban comments by that person that left you a real one. 

Fortunately however, this plugin does not use a centralized server like Aksimet does… which means that novice bloggers, clicking “delete all” on their spam folder without checking for false-positives, can not harm you and me (unlike Akismet). 

One of my requirements was “intelligent yet aggressive”… and this plugin meets that after you’ve had a little time to train it.

The first couple weeks/months you use this plugin you will see a higher than average rate of false positives. This is because your site is different than my site and not all assumptions are safe. 

You need to spend a couple weeks being very picky about what you mark as spam and what you mark as “not spam” so that you get it doing what you want it too do. This will result in a plugin that behaves very well on YOUR blog. 

Originally I was concerned by the false positives, but after my trip (and being gone three weeks) returning to almost 1,000 pieces of spam, I had less than 10 false positives (between CLP & AntiSpam Bee) which is really really good. (I had carefully trained it in the weeks before I left.)

Setting up AntiSpam Bee is really easy!

 Items Sent To Spam by AntiSpam Bee for WordPress

 

Here you see a spammed item and can see the [Marked As Spam by AntiSpamBee | Reason] note. This note, if you chose not to hide it in settings, gives you a clue as to how this was ID’d as spam. 

If you chose to mark this item as “not spam” you will need to edit the comment to strip this out before you approve it (or it looks bad!)  Fortunately, once you have the plugin trained you won’t have a ton of false positives and it’s no big deal. 

My Current Plugin “Stack” for Busting Spam

As of the time of writing this post, my current anti-spam solution stack is CommentLuv Premium (which includes GASP Pro, STV Pro, No Self Ping, and more) plus AntiSpam Bee (with a Project HoneyPot Key in use). 

I’m currently pleased with how well this stack is handling while while it occasionally misses a few human generated it doesn’t miss many! 

Is AntiSpam Bee WordPress Plugin Right For You? 

If you have a WordPress.org blog or CMS and have felt like you’re in a constant battle with spam that you’re just not winning, this one may be for you. I would certainly start with GASP/STV and or CLP first but if those are not enough this plugin nicely does the job. More importantly even, it behaves correctly in unusual browser situations and doesn’t prevent comments it shouldn’t. 

Rating: (4/5)   This plugin would be 5/5 if it had better documentation, if the developer would reply to development related email questions (not support), and if it didn’t really work best stacked with another solution (like most antispam plugins honestly do).   I also wish there was a way to make it not inherently mark all FB and Twitter ID’s comments as spam but it seems to be learning slowly on that one. 

~ Kim ~
Simple Tech Tips For Marketing 

 

Related Posts:

Reduce Comment Spam with Anti-Spam Bee (via WPMods.com)

Should Akismet Really Ship With WordPress (via WPMU.org) 

 

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Seipel February 21, 2012 at 8:25 am

Thanks for the great post Kimberly. One day I had a human spammer who was going through all of my old posts and sending me junk and nothing I had installed was stopping them! It was really frustrating – I plugged in GASP and have purchased CommentLUV (not installed yet), so we’ll see, but the quandry is to not make it to difficult for real comments to chime in.

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Kim Castleberry February 21, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I totally agree Cindy! Using this combination of CLP & ASB, the only “hoop” the reader has to jump through is a single check box which has been carefully designed to be cross-browser and caching compatible. That is different than most math tools and even things like wp-antispam which also trips a lot of false positives. Some of my GASP (pro version, part of CLP) settings are pretty strict but at least I have them set to explain what the restriction is. I like keeping the hoops readers are faced with to a minimum when possible, just like you!
Kim

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Farrel February 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

This one is new to me and I look for it in Google. Thanks for featuring this one Antispam Bee Review. I give me an idea and right decision to make, if I going installed it. Antispam Bee is simple to use, has many options and filters. I find it useful to me and I will install it to my new site.

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Kenny Fabre February 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Kim

anti spam bee is really useful, because there are alot of spammers out there.

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Jenny February 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Hi Kim, thanks for the recommendation of WordPress Anti-Spam Bee never heard of it before! I’m still a bit unclear though about whether or not you have to manually delete all the junky spam that you get bombarded with, is that the case? I am going to try it out and hopefully get a better handle on the whole comment side of things.

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Kim Castleberry February 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Hey Jenny, per the settings I used, the spam goes to the spam folder and not to your main comment listing. You can shuffle through it at your leisure to find the false positives. There *IS* also the option to have the plugin automatically delete all those comments (its on the advanced tab) but if you do that you will not have a chance to “rescue” false positives. The benefit in either case though is that they do not land in the main comment folder so your more aware of the real comments vs the spam. You certainly can chose to have the plugin auto-delete the spam but that comes with its own risks to your readers (something I don’t recommend).
Kim

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Jenny February 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Great plugin, had a bit of a chance to check over the features but still not sure if I will just auto delete whatever it catches :) I’m a bit lazy.

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Alex Geeks February 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Looks like setting up AntiSpam Bee is easy. And as I see it has many filters and options. I think its a great tool for my site…

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Clare February 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hi Kim,
Thanks for mentioning Akismet – I still have this activated on my blog. I also have CLP. Since I don’t like having more plug-ins that I absolutely require, I will deactivate Akismet and see whether CLP is sufficient. Thanks for another great post.
Clare

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Dan Keller February 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Thanks for the review. I am also using G.A.S.P as part of the Comment Luv premium and it is doing a great job and fortunately i do not have a need for anything else at this time. When I do I will definitely check out this plugin.

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Lily February 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm

That’s a new anti-spam tool. Is it also applicable to other blogging platforms?

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Kim Castleberry March 1, 2012 at 2:41 am

Hey Lily, yes this is a new antispam tool. It’s only available for WordPress.org based sites.
Kim

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Nile February 22, 2012 at 1:26 am

How is the load time on this plugin, Kim?

I also fired Akismet… did not tell Matt when I saw him in Atlanta…lol.

I know with Akismet, it picked up before I fired it- over 280,000 spam comments… so it makes me wonder how many of those were actually real comments.

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Shelley Alexander February 22, 2012 at 2:19 am

Kim, thanks for sharing this good post on spam. I had askimet and it kept deleting good comments so I had to remove it. I currently use comment luv and I think I am going to add antispam bee after reading your post. As always you share the best info to help us be better in business.

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chanikacha February 22, 2012 at 2:55 am

This plug in will surely help my blog. I have deleted some comments on my blog and it’s quite annoying that there are so many spam comments. I had just started my blog and there’s already some spam comment. I don’t I have time to read some of the comments on my blog. Thanks for this share.

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Willena Flewelling February 22, 2012 at 3:42 am

Welcome home, Kim! And thanks for this info. I am currently using GASP, and conditional captcha, which holds a person’s first comment for moderation, and then allows all subsequent comments. But I’m still getting a huge number of spam comments. I’m going to give this plugin a go!

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Daniel Rose February 22, 2012 at 4:34 am

Hi Kim,
I tried Anti-Spam Bee, GASP and a few others. I probably don’t get as many comments as you, but I found it easier to moderate all of them!
My money would be on GASP and Anti Spam Bee though for larger sites, and I’m not a fan of Akismet
Thanks for the review

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Kim Castleberry March 1, 2012 at 2:57 am

Hey Daniel, thanks bunches for your insights! Yeah, I’ve pretty much settled on the premium version of GASP + Antispam bee so we definitely share that view. I just really do not have the time to hand moderate everything with the large bulk of bot spam this site receives. I was there at once point but theres days I’m doing good to keep up with the REAL comments LOL!
Thanks again,
Kim

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Edyta February 22, 2012 at 7:22 am

Hi Kim,

I receive a lot SPAM comments. I hope that Anti-Spam Bee plugin can help me to solve my problem. Thanks for sharing it.

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Reeha February 22, 2012 at 8:01 am

Hi Kim,
nice helping post. i also have high concern about spam and other mails and comments however i am sure this new plugin will solve my most of problems. needs to search more about it than i will surely try it.

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Stephane Lacroix February 22, 2012 at 8:05 am

Hi kim, Thank you so much for helping me solve my problem. I love my G.A.S.P plugin as well as Commetluv premium, it’s awesome! But now I can use all of them including AntiSpam Bee for WordPress….and I’m so thrilled.

I will get back to you with more feedback.

Thanks for sharing this tool with the masses.

Stephane

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Julie February 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

This plugin seems to be really genial, it’s much better than the other antispam tools. I think I’m gonna give this a try.

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Joyce Edwards February 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

Great information,as always given from your site. I have both G.A.S P. and comment Luv on my site and don’t gt too much spasm now. I also have Aksimet and will probably take that off due to your excellent advise!

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Melodie Kantner February 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Thanks for keeping us up to date on these things. I have had a lot of spam issues. Lately a really large amount of trackbacks. The other one I hate is the other languages. Who knows what those comments are and what their web site link is for. They get deleted. I will try this plugin.

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Peter Fuller MBA February 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Another excellent review Kim.

For the last few months I have been receiving a lot of trackback spam, so much so that I have considered turning off trackbacks.

I am going to take a look at this plugin, thanks

Peter

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Kevin February 23, 2012 at 12:13 am

This is an outstanding sharing. Because now a days there are lot of spams coming through various ways and commenting to blog one the major area. Definitely I am going to use this antispam plug-in to avoid spam and let’s see how effective it is working. Thanks a ton for sharing.

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Nathalie Villeneuve February 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Thanks Kim…I am going to look into this…I have to go back to the message you sent me after the spamming incident the other day…Thanks again for your help.I trust you 100% on being my #1 resource with Wordpress…and much more…Love ya!!!

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Kostas February 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Hi Kim,
I still use akismet for antispam and even though I get a lot of FALSE spam comments I haven’t searched for an alternative, I will probably try these untispam plugins you suggest and see how they work, thanks for sharing…

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Buddy Hodges February 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Hi Kim,

Thank you for keeping us informed. You share so much valuable information! I will probably follow your example and deactivate akismet and try antispam Bee.

Reading this post is kind of a “downer” for me, although it may be helpful. I would enjoy reading about relationship building plugins. It is a nuisance that we have to to go to so much trouble to deal with nonproductive necessities. It is like having to go through the security check points at the airport. The “bad guys” hold us hostage. It was bad enough when I had to begin locking doors after burglaries.

I guess I will just have to get used to accepting the negative side of life.

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Carolyn February 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Hi Kim, this is such a helpful post. As you said, I have felt as I’m losing the battle against spam. I have CLP and Stop Spammers Registration, but I feel as if I need more. Thanks so much for suggesting Anti-Spam Bee and for the thorough review!

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Sire February 23, 2012 at 12:58 am

I’m actually quite happy with Akismet and rarely have to fish anyone out of it’s spam folder. If I ever do get jack of it though I will be sure to AntiSpam Bee a go.

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Dan February 23, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Hey Kim, thanks for sharing this, I’m going to give it a shot and see how it pans out. I’ve tried like 20 others and no luck

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James Martin February 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

Hello Kim,I want to make a wordpress blog for my business,which afford will I need for this?

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SteveBorgman February 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Kim, thanks for the review. I can’t believe how many spam messages I seem to get in the course of a day. I’m grateful to see there’s another alternative out there. Thanks for keeping us posted!

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Jupiter Jim February 26, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Kimberly,

Great review. Definitely something to think about. After tweaking just about all the settings in the G.A.S.P. plugin that is bundled with the CommentLuv Premium plugin, I’m still getting the trackback spam. I think there is a setting that says “block all trackbacks”, I cannot remember, so maybe I’ll have to use that setting next. In your opinion, does it makes sense to block all trackbacks? Doesn’t seem like I EVER get any legitimate trackbacks anyway.

Thanks for letting me know about a good anti-spam plugin that I had never heard about!

— Jupiter Jim
Jupiter Jim invites you to read…WordPress Tutorial: Add “Facebook Fan Page LIKE Box” to your WordPress Blog or WebsiteMy Profile

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Kim Castleberry March 1, 2012 at 2:08 am

Hey Jim, if you’re not getting legitimate trackbacks, then people are not linking back to you. Now part of that is a flaw in the culture in TSA. One I intend to do some work on. However, it should also be a red flag to you because editorial links (the ones from within a post body) are much more of an indicator to Google of your sites authority than comment links are. Inbound links are very important for the best pages in your site. (It’s worth noting however, that links to our home/blog pages don’t generate trackbacks so we don’t see THOSE links incoming).
Kim

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Dipendra Pokharel February 27, 2012 at 9:16 am

Thanks Kim for the beautiful post. Wordpress has one and only defect I have seen and that is spam comments. So it is much essential to use plugins that prevents spam. Thanks for the review.

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Ray March 14, 2012 at 1:40 am

[MARKED AS SPAM BY ANTISPAM BEE | Spam IP]
Hey Kim,
After being hit with more spam than I would like, and not a big fan of Askimet I decided to install Antispam Bee. I had my eye on it for a while, but didn’t install it until I read your post and settings. Thanks for the screen shots by the way they are very helpful.

One thing I have a problem with after installing Antispam Bee is my Commentluv started messing up. It will no longer automatically scan and display the last 10 posts. I have to uncheck the CommentLuv box and then recheck it for it to do so. No idea why. I tried changing w3 total cache settings, which didn’t seem to help. Maybe it’s a javascript or jQuery issue. The only other thing I was thinking is maybe I could edit CommentLuv so the box isn’t checked by default, and hopefully then when someone checks it it will find the last 10.

Go figure. Other than that it has already caught several in the first 30 minutes since installing it.

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Kim Castleberry March 24, 2012 at 1:26 am

Hey Ray, I just want to note that I just removed Antispam Bee. Partially for exactly the problem I see on your comment and that’s that it flagged your post as spam for no good reason (says spam IP which is BS). I found that it was not “learning” based on the posts I removed and actually was seemingly almost more aggressive over time. It got to the point that almost all of my real comments were going to spam. For a bit I thought I’d pissed off all my readers and they’d left!
Kim
PS: Commentluv can not be used with JS minify. Be sure to set your W3TC minify setting to manual and then in the advanced settings to un-check the “enable JS minify” option. I had the same issue prior.

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Gill July 4, 2012 at 12:26 am

Hi Kim
Just found your site – signed up cos I love what I’ve found so far.
Read a later post (which I can’t now find) that recommended against Akismet for microbusiness. As I had installed Antispam Bee – on recommendation from someone else – but not fully activated Akismet, I was feeling pretty happy that I had made a good choice.
Then I came across this post with your note at the top…
Now wondering:
(a) What other anti-spam programs were you using at the same time as Antispam Bee? Could the Antispam Bee’s false positives be caused by interaction with other programs? (I really hate false positives en masse – my home computer’s security system has gone mad with them…any recommendations for programs like Trend Micro that don’t go overboard on antispam?)
(b) What anti-spam programs do you currently recommen? I am just starting out and want to get this bit right before I have a big problem ;)
Thanks

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Josh August 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I don’t know how we would survive without this tool. A few different times, Anti Spam bee prevented 100’s of junk comments being posted. Would be time consuming for us to delete them all. Thanks!

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Barun Pandey April 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for this anti spam bee :) This worked our really well. Thank you so much!

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Leiif May 30, 2013 at 7:13 am

Hi Kim,
I have been using this on a few of my sites and I haven’t had any real issues because almost all I get is spam. I have 5 real comments out of over 100. Since you no longer recommend this what free plugin would you recommend for fighting spam?

Leiif

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